Two Time Survivor of Atomic Bombs Dies at 93

by Mike on January 21, 2010

Tsutomu Yamaguchi Dies at 93 – Survivor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

He survived the atomic bombs of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In later years he wrote poetry to tell the story. Mr. Yamaguchi died on January 6th. He was 93 years old. His story is told in the Obituary Section of the January 16, 2010 issue of The Economist. He was one of about 100 people who survived both atomic blasts in Japan at the end of World War II.

While his life story is interesting, the last few words of the story struck me deeply:

…an image of his life as a baton, passed on every time anyone heard or read his testimony.

After reading these words, I thought about my life and the baton that I might be passing on. Every time I tell a story, write a blog post, talk to people, am I passing on anything of enough value that it might be passed on to others?

This idea is a somewhat sobering, but I think it’s important. Many of us are too often caught up in the day to day scramble of making a living and carving out time to enjoy what’s important to us. But, by the time we finish working, managing households, fulfilling other obligations, how much time to we have left to do the things that we think are important? How much of what we are doing is important enough that it should be passed on to future generations?

For me, the concept of my life as passing on a baton is a stake in the ground. It has, at least, subtly shifted my perspective.

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